2023 WAIS Workshop

Deadlines Registration Agenda Meals Travel Harassment Policy UMN Intentions for CFC Early-Career Support


Morning at University of Minnesota's Cloquet Forestry Center

Thirtieth Annual WAIS Workshop
September 25–28, 2023
Cloquet Forestry Center
University of Minnesota
Cloquet, MN USA

See the 2023 WAIS Workshop agenda and abstracts here

The 2023 WAIS Workshop will be held in Cloquet, MN, at University of Minnesota's Cloquet Forestry Center, a research and education site located on the southern edge of North America's boreal forest—read more below about University of Minnesota intentions for the Cloquet Forestry Center in consultation with the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa leaders. This NSF- and NASA-sponsored meeting hosts transdisciplinary and societally critical science focused on marine ice-sheet and adjacent earth systems, with particular emphasis on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The 2023 meeting is hosted locally by Peter Neff (University of Minnesota) and the rest of WAIS Organizing Committee (Knut Christianson, Mickey MacKie, Brooke Medley, Matt Siegfried, Lauren Simkins). 

The meeting begins with an icebreaker pizza dinner on Monday evening, September 25. Sessions are organized by topic, with keynote speakers for some sessions, followed by contributed talks and concluding with a panel discussion. Poster sessions will be held separately. We anticipate about 40-50 talks. The formal meeting agenda will end at lunch on Thursday, September 28, followed by a set of workshops open for any WAIS Workshop attendee. We will also continue our workshop-wide discussion about community health as part of the scientific agenda.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are embraced at the WAIS Workshop, and we are committed to creating and maintaining a workshop environment that is safe, inclusive, harassment-free, and welcoming to all genders, races, identities, self-expressions, ethnicities and cultures. Please see the WAIS Workshop policy on harassment for more information.


The deadline for Abstract Submission was August 11 at 5:00 PM PDT (UTC-7)
The early-career travel support request deadline was also August 11. We have limited funds to support air or ground travel to the meeting as well as registration fees (including lodging). 
Registration deadline was August 25 at 5:00 PM PDT, but our workshop often reaches our capacity before this deadline in the past, so register early!! Please email wais@mines.edu if registration option have filled up and you would like to get on the waiting list.


Registration for the 2023 WAIS Workshop has closed. There are three registration options: registration with offsite lodging, full registration with on-site lodging (double), and early-career registration with on-site lodging (triple). All options include Monday dinner, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday (three days of food!). On-site lodging includes lodging Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights. Please indicate any dietary restrictions you may have one the follow-up registration questionnaire and the caterer will do their best to accommodate. Roommate preferences for on-site lodging can also be indicated on the follow-up questionnaire. In addition to our in-preson conference option, there will be a public livestream that does not require registration. A link for livestreaming will be sent to the WAIS Workshop email list.

Lodging at the Cloquet Forestry Center is limited and in shared rooms. Staying on site allows interaction and collaboration among the meeting participants in an informal and beautiful setting, so please register early to ensure you can stay on site. Lodging will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis; we will alomst maintain a waitlist for on-site lodging—please email wais@mines.edu to join the housing waitlist. In addition to our on-site lodging, we will reserve room blocks in nearby hotels that are less than 10 minutes by car. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any lodging concerns you may have. 

Registration fees: Registration fees for all WAIS Workshop participants includes meals for the 2.5 day meeting. Registration that includes on-site lodging are for a three-night stay (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday) and vary based on career stage and number of occupants. If there are any questions, please contact us

$150 for registration with off-site lodging (please book lodging near Cloquet, MN yourself; we have reserved blocks at two local hotels)
$225 for early-career registration with on-site lodging (triple rooms)
$325 for full registration with on-site lodging (double rooms)

Hotel Blocks:

We have reserved rooms at the AmericInn Cloquet and Super 8 Cloquet.  Rooms must be reserved by August 27, 2023 and guaranteed with a credit card. Reservations can be made by calling 218-879-1231 and mentioning the room block for "WAIS Workshop". We have reserved both single ($118.99 and $129 per night plus tax at the Super 8 and AmericInn, respectively) and double ($128.99 and $139 per night plus tax at the Super 8 and AmericInn, respectively) rooms. All reservations and coordination for double rooms is the responsibility of the guest and not the WAIS Workshop. 

Refund Policy:

Registration and on-site lodging can be canceled and refunded with a $25 fee until August 25 and a $75 fee until September 8, after which there will be no refunds. If there are any questions, please contact us

A note about the virtual livestream: The 2023 WAIS Workshop will have a free livestream option that will allow viewing all talks and discussions free of charge, with an opportunity to submit questions/comments for presenters and panelists digitally. Additional details, including links, will be sent to the WAIS Workshop email list. Like in years past, all sessions except our Community Health session will be recorded and archived on YouTube after the conference.

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The 2023 WAIS Abstract Booklet can be found here. Plan to arrive Monday, September 25 for dinner and socializing; dinner is included in the registration fee and we ask for a small donation to cover drinks. The WAIS Workshop is 2½ days, concluding with lunch on Thursday, September 28. We will have around 40-50 talks that cover all aspects of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet system, including research from glaciologists, oceanographers, atmospheric scientists, biologists, computer scientists, and engineers at all career stages. We also enourage abstracts that discuss relevant aspects of communicating WAIS science beyond the research community as well as ideas to improve the diversity, inclusion, and equity of our field. Following each set of oral presentations, a panel of the session's speakers and a moderator will lead an open discussion about the general theme, and examine what the significance of new insights presented in the talks is for the West Antarctic system. In addition to talks, WAIS Workshop will have space for posters. There will be an opportunity to give a very brief overview of a poster topic to the audience just prior to the poster sessions. Posters have historically received a great deal of attention at WAIS Workshops. For 2023, session themes will include:

  • WAIS in the Community: Actionable science requires civic engagement and co-production of knowledge with people outside the confines of academic and research institutions. We seek contributions that describe efforts to provide insight on and examples of community development that mutually benefit all parties involved as well as contributions that promote the development of inclusive and equitable research and learning spaces. 
  • New Technology & FAIR Science: Answering the pressing questions at the end of the Earth requires innovation for both the technology we use and the open-science ecosystem in which in work. What are the new technologies that have recently or soon will come on line that will enable steps forward in the generation of WAIS scientific knowledge? How do we develop open science frameworks to accelerate our science? 
  • Atmosphere & Ocean Drivers: New discoveries and insights relating to the atmospheric, such as surface mass balance, firn processes, extraordinary snow events, and atmospheric rivers, and the ocean, such as grounding line processes, ice-shelf stability, connections to sea ice conditions, sub-ice-shelf processes, and their interconnected atmospheric-ice-ocean system. We seek contributions that look at these key drivers—past, present and future—to help us understand modern and future change in West Antarctica, including insights from other glaciers and ice sheets that may inform our understanding of WAIS.  
  • Observational & Modeling Gaps: We invite contributions about research that highlights data gaps that limit our ability to advance our understanding of any or all components of the Antarctic system. What are the community needs for future satellite, airborne, and ground measurements? How do we easily access and analyze the growing volume of model output? 
  • Piecing the Puzzle Together: we seek submissions that integrate research and scientific discoveries across several disciplines in support of big-picture, scientific pursuits in West Antarctica, such as atmosphere-ice-ocean-bed-ecosystem interactions, linkages of surface and basal processes, modern-day connections with the paleo ice core and geologic record, and other multi-disciplinary, integrative topics that are important to WAIS and marine ice sheet dynamics. 
  • Uncertainty Quantification: Ice sheet processes are (now famously) subjected to “deep uncertainty”. How do we quantify and communicate uncertainty in a complex, interconnected, multidisciplinary, non-linear system? What are the key pathways for our community to define, quantify, reduce, accept, and communicate uncertainty in the marine ice-sheet system? 

Basic Agenda:

Monday: Afternoon arrival, 4:30pm Steering Committee Meeting, 6:00pm opening icebreaker with dinner and drinks (please bring cash or Venmo for drinks)
Tuesday: Meeting begins with breakfast followed by two morning sessions of presentations, then lunch, one session of presentations, followed by the first poster session, and dinner on-site.
Wednesday:  Similar schedule to Tuesday.
Thursday: Thursday morning will begin with breakfast, two morning sessions, then lunch. After lunch, we will have workshop opportunities for WAIS Workshop attendees.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission and Presentations

Abstract format and submission:

  • Abstract submission is now closed. Please use the same login information as your registration. This will connect your registration to your abstract and allow you to edit your abstract later if you need to.
  • Abstract submission (and edits) closed August 11 at 5:00 PM PDT (UTC-7).

Talk guidelines:

  • Talks will be 10 or 15 minutes long, including time for questions and switching presenters. Your presentation length will be assigned by the Organizing Committee and will be noted on the final agenda, which will be released in late August. We have a full meeting so please be mindful of your time and courteous to the next presenter. A discussion period concludes each session where further questions can be addressed.
  • All presentation files will be loaded on one central laptop to expedite the transition between presenters. We request you provide us with your presentation the day prior to your assigned time. Dinner time is a good time for this.
  • Powerpoint or PDF files are preferred. Keynote is available. Please email wais@mines.edu if you would like to use a different format.
  • After the conference, presentations will be posted with the agenda on the WAIS Workshop site. If you prefer we don't publish your presentation, e-mail the Organizing Committee at: wais@mines.edu.
  • For 2023, all talks will be livestreamed for those that cannot attend the conference. If you have concerns about livestreaming your talk, please contact the WAIS Workshop Organizing Committee. These livestreams will be recorded and archived on our website.

Poster guidelines:

  • Preceding the in-person poster session will be a brief opportunity for poster presenters to give a one-slide/one-minute pitch about their research.
  • For space efficiency, posters cannot exceed 4 feet in width or 3 feet tall.

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Registration fee includes Monday dinner, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday, and breakfast and lunch on Thursday. Snacks and coffee are also included. Please indicate any dietary restrictions you may have on the registration form and the caterer will do their best to accommodate. 

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Air Travel and Ground Transportation

We recommend you fly into either Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) or Duluth International Airport (DLH). MSP is approximately 2 hour drive from our conference venue, whereas DLH is approximately a 40 minute drive. As in years past, we have an electronic ride-sharing board for those wishing to carpool to or from the airport (we highly recommend carpooling!). In addition to carpooling, we hope to reserve a van or two for larger shuttles from MSP and/or Duluth; more information on shared vanpools will be available for registrants in early September.

set up an electronic ride-sharing board for those wishing to carpool to or from the airport (we highly recommend carpooling!). 

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WAIS Workshop Policy on Harassment

The WAIS Workshop is dedicated to providing a harassment-free experience for participants regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, religion, or other protected status. The WAIS Workshop is a working conference intended for professional networking and collaboration for West Antarctic (and related) researchers. While attending the WAIS Workshop science program or related social events, any participants, including speakers, attendees, volunteers, and anyone else, should not engage in harassment or bullying in any form. All event participants are expected to behave according to professional standards and in accordance with their employer’s policies on appropriate workplace behavior. For issues or concerns during the conference, please contact any of the WAIS Workshop organizers or the local host, all of whom will be wearing WAIS pins. Additional contact information for our hosts and detalis about the reporting process will be available at WAIS Workshop check-in and posted online. This policy applies to all community situations online and offline, including the conference itself, mailing lists, social media, social events associated with the conference, and one-to-one interactions. Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately. Attendees violating these rules may be asked to leave the event at the sole discretion of the conference organizers without any refund.

We hope that our policy will reflect the values of the WAIS community. To that end, this harassment policy will be refined and updated to make it represent our community as a whole as our community discussions continue.

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About University of Minnesota intentions for Cloquet Forestry Center

At the request of Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa leaders, the University of Minnesota has been engaged in regular and ongoing dialogue about the Cloquet Forestry Center, which is wholly located within the Fond du Lac Reservation. While these conversations have included the possibility of returning the land, they have also focused on information about the University of Minnesota research being conducted on the land, how these research efforts may align with the research needs of the Band, program development and community engagement, history of the property and cultural uses, and more.

These conversations have led to an initial plan to move forward collaboratively — with the Fond du Lac, the University and the State of Minnesota — to return to the Band the approximately 3,400 acres that house the Cloquet Forestry Center. There are still a number of steps that must be taken before a clear timeline for a transfer of ownership can be developed. Such a transfer would require the State to help facilitate. In addition, more consideration and negotiation are necessary to consider the effects this plan would have on the University’s research portfolio. Further details will be shared when they are finalized.

With full understanding that there will be many questions about this plan and that some cannot currently be answered, this FAQ provides additional details about the history and context surrounding this decision and potential next steps.

The above information is adapted from the University of Minnesota news release dated February 3, 2023.

For additional information on the history of and possible paths forward for university relations with Minnesota indigenous communities, see the recent Towards Recognition and University-Tribal Healing (TRUTH) project report via the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

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Early-Career Travel Support

The retreat format of WAIS Workshops provides a unique atmosphere where scientists at the start of their career can interact with senior researchers. We therefore strive to make WAIS Workshop accessible through early-career travel support to encourage attendence from a broad specturm of early-career researchers. To this end, our budget includes airfare registration fee support for a limited number of students and early-career researchers. We ask that interested people to submit an abstract on their recent research for consideration for the funding and submit the application for early-career travel support here. We estimate that we have travel support for 10-15 students or recent post-doctoral researchers (≤ 5 years since degree, or ≤ 5 years in career in total if there was a break due to family obligations). Please highlight the relevance of your abstract to West Antarctica, ice sheet stability, ice-ocean or ice-biology interactions, or polar climate change and any other relevant information regarding your funding. We will aim to inform students of the decision on their support in mid to late August to allow time to purchase tickets and register. 

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Questions? Please contact us at wais@mines.edu